With the Football League kick-off this weekend, this series of articles takes a closer look at the 24 teams vying for the £100 million Premier League bonanza.
After thrilling the Championship in their 2012/13 near miss last season was one of great disappoint at Vicarage Road. Inconsistency plagued the hornets season and saw Gianfranco Zola exit and Beppe Sannino step into the hot seat.
With the summer to build his own squad Sannino will now be expecting greater consistency, with the club’s hierarchy once again making use of its connections in Spain and Italy to bring players in via the loan system.
Ex-Brazil goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is a considerable coup, Lloyd Dyer joined from last season’s champions Leicester and should add wing threat alongside the exciting Ikechi Anya, alongside the usual influx of Granada and Udinese players.
Retention of Troy Deeney will be key, but a handsome bid from the Premier League could be too much to resist, and Sannino will be hoping Vydra can re-discover the form that helped drive Watford to within one game of the Premier League 15 months ago.
Whether Sannino can find the mojo that made Watford so exhilarating and a consistent winning formula remains to be seen. If Vydra and Deeney click again it is a distinct possibility and a dart at the play-offs may not be too unrealistic.
Last Season: 13th
Manager: Beppe Sannino
Transfers In*: Juan Carlos Paredes (Granada, undisclosed), Heurelho Gomes (Tottenham, free), Gabriel Tamas (Doncaster, free), Lloyd Dyer (Leicester, free), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool, free), Matej Vydra (Udinese, loan), Daniel Tozser (Parma, loan), Keith Andrews (Bolton, loan), Odion Ighalo (Udinese, loan)
Transfers Out*: Reece Brown (Barnsley, undisclosed), Gary Woods (Leyton Orient, free), Bobson Bawling (Crawley, free), Javier Acuna (Olimpia Asuncion, undisclosed), Manuel Almunia, Marco Cassetti, Nyron Nosworthy, Ross Jenkins, Fitz Hall, Albert Riera, Lucas Neill (all released)
One To Watch: Matej Vydra (forward)
Two years when Vydra began his first spell at Watford few quite expected the explosive impact the Czech forward went on to make. 20 goals and play-off heartbreak later and Vydra earned a Premier League move to West Brom as one of the most exciting young talents in the league.
It didn’t really work out for Vydra at The Hawthorns, but his return to Vicarage Road will be a real tonic to Watford who will hoping he can re-discover his form from two season ago and propel Watford on another promotion adventure.
Selected Odds: Champions 22-1; Promotion 7-1; Relegation 12-1
Opening Fixtures: Bolton (H), Norwich (A), Rotherham (A)
*correct at the time of writing